Government update on drivers’ hours rules during the Coronavirus pandemic

Please be aware of the following temporary relaxation of driver’s hours rules, directed by the government in regard to supporting the logistical recovery of urgent supplies back into shops and supermarkets.

This temporary relaxation applies from 00:01 on Wednesday 18 March 2020 and will run until 23:59 on Thursday 16 April 2020.

As your drivers hear about this, they will no doubt be calling you to clarify these rules, hence the below communication is for your benefit to help you understand the changes. This will also affect the number of days you can plan a driver to work, as long as he is fit and willing to do so.

Please remember the health and wellbeing of the driver and other road users is paramount and must always be considered as number one priority.

In response to requests from Industry, the Department for Transport has agreed to a temporary and limited urgent relaxation of the enforcement of EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales for the drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of food, non-food (personal care and household paper and cleaning) and over the counter pharmaceuticals when undertaking the following journeys:

1) Distribution centre to stores (or fulfilment centre)

2) From manufacturer or supplier to distribution centre (including backhaul collections)

3) From manufacturer or supplier to store (or fulfilment centre)

4) Between distribution centres and transport hub trunking

5) Transport hub deliveries to stores

This exemption does not apply to drivers undertaking deliveries directly to consumers.

The department wishes to make clear that driver safety must not be compromised. Drivers should not be expected to drive whilst tired – employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users.

 

For the drivers and work in question, the EU drivers’ hours rules can be temporarily relaxed as follows:

a) Replacement of the EU daily driving limit of 9 hours with one of 11 hours;

b) Reduction of the daily rest requirements from 11 to 9 hours;

c) Lifting the weekly (56 hours) and fortnightly driving limits (90 hours) to 60 and 96 hours respectively.

d) Postponement of the requirement to start a weekly rest period after six-24 hours periods, for after seven 24 hours period, although two regular weekly rest periods or a regular and a reduced weekly rest period will still be required within a fortnight.

e) The requirements for daily breaks of 45 minutes after 4.5 hours driving replaced with replaced with a break of 45 minutes after 5.5 hours of driving.

 

Drivers’ must not use relaxation ‘a’ and ‘d’ at the same time. This is to ensure drivers are able to get adequate rest.

The practical implementation of the temporary relaxation should be through agreement between employers and employees and/or driver representatives.

The drivers in question must note on the back of their tachograph charts or printouts the reasons why they are exceeding the normally permitted limits. This is usual practice in emergencies and is, of course, essential for enforcement purposes.

If you need any further guidance on information regarding this matter then please do not hesitate to contact your Sure Group representative.